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Sanctuary of Santa Luzia, tallest monument of Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo
Situated at the mouth of the Lima river, between the ocean and the mountains, the charming city of Viana do Castelo is steeped in tradition. Historically, the city was a crucial point of departure during the Age of Discovery, when many Portuguese explorers embarked to discover the unknown world.

Today, Viana do Castelo is a lively fishing port, renowned for its compelling architecture, featuring Manueline and Renaissance influences as well as innovative contemporary design. Below the hills of Santa Luzia, the narrow, winding streets are lined with beautiful palaces and houses constructed over the centuries. Visitors will also enjoy the beautiful Cabedelo beach across the Lima estuary.

Throughout the Minho province, many religious festivals and popular fairs are held throughout the year. Festivities in Viana do Castelo culminate in the middle of August with the celebration of the Romaria de Nossa Senhora d’Agonia, which dates back to the 18th century. For three days, the streets are filled with people enjoying the parade of floats, towering puppets and colourful local costumes, as well as traditional music and food.

The nearby town of Ponte de Lima boasts a fine Roman bridge, a lively market and neighbourhoods of impressive rural mansions and old cottages. Along the Minho river, which separates Spain from Portugal, interesting border towns include Caminha, Valença, Monção and Melgaço. Other places to visit include the quaint towns of Paredes de Coura, Arcos de Valdevez and Ponte da Barca. Every two years, Vila Nova de Cerveira hosts a contemporary arts festival.

Photos: Celso Gonçalves Roc2c

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